Author: Pamela L. Laskin
Publication date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 192 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Harper Collins!)
This beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.
Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the barrier fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred. Ronit and Jamil fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can be kept secret for only so long. Soon, the teenage lovers must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.
*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads
A novel written in verse, Ronit & Jamil was a quick read. I’m a fan of modern-day retellings, so when I learned that it’s a reimagining of Romeo & Juliet set in the Middle East, I just had to read it.
I thought I was going to like this book, but unfortunately, I didn’t. The alternate POVs were confusing because the poems sound very much alike. The characters didn’t resonate with me, and I also couldn’t connect with the story. I felt that everything was rushed! It could have been better if the novel were written in prose so readers would extensively feel the thrill of romance. In addition, scenes would be executed vividly, giving readers a thorough understanding of Israeli and Palestinian cultures, as well as experience the intense conflict between the two countries.
If Ronit & Jamil is on your TBR pile, please give it a chance. Like other books, it deserves to be read. Don’t let my review influence your decision in reading the book. This is just my opinion, guys! 🙂